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Acquiesce

Acquiesce
Nicole Fornabaio/rd.com

This is simply a word where if you know it, you know it. Looking quickly at this word, which means “comply or agree without question,” you might not think that first “c” needs to be there; it isn’t in words like “aquatic” or “aquiver.” You may also be tempted to throw a double “s” on the end in lieu of the “sc,” or just write the “s” with no “c.”

Bologna

Bologna
Nicole Fornabaio/rd.com

There’s a reason many meat packages spell it “baloney.” The word “bologna” derives from Bologna, Italy, since a similar (but fancier) type of sausage comes from that city. If you want to mimic this fanciness, that “-gn” at the end should be pronounced with a “yuh” sound. But the newer, more phonetic spelling seems to better suit thin slabs of wiener sausage.

Fuchsia

Fuchsia
Nicole Fornabaio/rd.com

Both the pairs of letters “sc” and “sh” have been known to make the sound that starts the second syllable of “fuchsia.” But, unfortunately for anyone who likes writing about colours or plants, “fuchsia” uses neither of those pairings, instead taking all the necessary letters and jumbling them up. The plant, whose flowers give the name to the colour, was named after esteemed German botanist Leonhard Fuchs.

Nauseous

Nauseous

There sure are a lot of vowels in “nauseous,” and it can be tricky to remember what order they go in. Even if you’ve got them straight, you may still second-guess yourself about the consonants, too. The “sh” sound makes it sound like there should be a “c” in there somewhere, like in “conscious.”

Orangutan

Orangutan
Nicole Fornabaio/rd.com

These poor Bornean primates are the subject of much linguistic confusion. According to Merriam-Webster, their name is the amalgamation of two words in the Malay pidgin language: “orang” for “man” and “hutan” for “forest.” But many people prefer pronouncing an anglicised version that adds another “g” to the end, making the word perplexing for spellers. As if that weren’t confusing enough, some variations on the spelling hyphenate the word and/or add an “o” before the “u,” creating “orang-outan.”

Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia
Nicole Fornabaio/rd.com

Instead of adding a letter like in the case of “orangutan,” people pronouncing this already-tricky word tend to skip over the second “r” altogether. This mouthful actually comes from a nearly identical Latin word, paraphernālia, which referred to the belongings or property of a bride-to-be, similar to a dowry. Needless to say, the word has modernised, as now it can describe everything from ski gear to musical amplifiers to mobile phone chargers.

Next, try these 19 trivia questions only geniuses will get right.

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Source: RD.com

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